Memorias y balanceos* is a pachydermic illustrated book written, drawn, printed and bound by me and published by Minusculario Ediciones, our small art press.
*The original Spanish title
There are also single high quality art prints available in my Society6 Shop
Scrolling down this page you can read some of the pages already translated into English.
On this humid pampa I call home the absence of elephants is impossible to ignore. So I must evoke their almost fantastic exoticism from a distance. They allow me to draw them with the same wise gentleness they appear to practice in their faraway lands, if they do in fact exist.
He remembers it as if it were today, that day twenty-three years ago when they walked through the gorge. He remembers clearly feeling the faint crunch of seven or eight ants under one of his feet. He remembers imagining the thread of little black spots interrupted by his footstep. He remembers that Mirna hung onto his tail and that he held onto Horacio who was in front of him.
As he remembers these things, they walk, as they did twenty-three years ago, through a gorge. Horacio is no longer here and Mirna has changed so much that she prefers to walk alone.
I try to make excuses for him because we grew up together but I have to admit that he’s been unbearable ever since he returned. He says that he escaped because, in spite of everything, he missed us. But the gossip mill maintains that he didn’t escape at all, that in reality they let him loose because he’d become a nuisance. He’s always talking about the humans this, the humans that. He always says that if we only knew the flavor of peanuts we wouldn’t be eating the junk that we eat. Of course we have to put that “junk” into his mouth for him and we have to push him along so that he doesn’t get left behind. And since he’s returned he doesn’t even know how to wipe his own butt!
Our grandparents tell us all kinds of stories about “the uglies.” That their tusks are gigantic, that their bodies are completely covered in hair, that their ears are ridiculous, that at night they steal the kids who misbehave… But they have never seen them with their own eyes. They were told these stories by their grandparents and their grandparents by theirs. They tend to appear in our nightmares or as a threat in our disciplinary practices but also, for some, they’re a symbol of what is no longer here, of truncated possibilities, of everything we don’t know. A small example of our enormous ignorance.
He knows that it’s stupid to be scared of something so tiny but Marcleo tells him that perhaps it’s his way of covering up something else, perhaps something that happened to him as a calf. That’s why Marcelo insists that they meet every week to go over the stories from when he was little.
Last time he told him that his problem was very common nowadays. He even told him what it was called.
But in all honesty, knowing what Marcelo calls it doesn’t help him at all.
The one who always rains on our parade is Bighead. He thinks he knows it all. He says we have to think carefully before doing anything. That we can’t just run around like chickens with our heads cut off, like he says we do. We have to admit that on more than one occasion he’s been proven right but he also knows that if we heeded each and every one of his warnings we’d never get anything done.
He’s often heard the elder ones speak of the glorious destiny that awaits at the end of the road. He’s seen how their eyes light up at the mere mention of the Great Cemetery and its gleaming tusks. However, since that first time when, ignoring the warnings, he walked dangerously close to the village and heard the sweet sad melody rising up out of the little school, he’s dreamed of a different ending for himself. In a minor key.
Marito doesn’t know what else he can do to stand out. He’s filed his tusks, he exercises every day, keeps to a strict root-based diet and says he feels like a kid. But when he walks, with that ridiculous gait he’s now adopted, it’s harder and harder for him to hide the trembling of his knees and the same old desperation in his eyes.
He sees a tree and says “all the trees.”
He sees a bird and says “that which flies.”
He sees another elephant and says “we, the elephants.”
He sees his own reflection in the water and observes a respectful silence.